What’s happening this week? Feb. 28, 2020

The Elsie Quirk Library is celebrating Women’s History Month with a series of Monday Night Movies featuring women’s experiences and accomplishments. As we enter Women’s History Month this year, there is a special emphasis on what is billed as the 100th anniversary of women gaining the vote, which has stirred up my librarian research inclinations.

The history of women’s suffrage in the United States is, as history tends to be, more complicated and more intriguing than the select bullet points that are considered common knowledge. For example, the New Jersey Constitution that was adopted in 1776 granted the right to vote to all residents who owned a given amount of property. This meant that unmarried or widowed women, regardless of race, could vote if they owned sufficient property. (Married women could not legally own property, thus were restricted from voting.) In 1790, New Jersey granted voting privileges to “all free inhabitants” which still severely disenfranchised quite a number of women, and, of course, men as well, who surely would vote for their freedom given the opportunity. Then in 1807, New Jersey regressed and made the vote open only to “free white male citizens.”

Over the next 113 years, women very slowly gained—or regained—voting rights, starting with limited allowances being made for some women to vote in school-related elections, and a scarce few territories granting women suffrage. And indeed in 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified granting women the right to vote. But, the march towards all women wielding the power of the vote was not at the finish line. It wasn’t until the 1940s that Native American and Chinese-American women (and men) widely gained suffrage; not until the 1950s that many Japanese-American women (and men) got the vote; and well into the 1960s before African American women (and men) substantially overcame violent and oppressive measures that effectively denied their right to vote.

If new facts about women’s long journey towards equal protection and representation under the law are as interesting to you as they are to me, the library is a great place to learn more! If you are looking for perspectives on whether the fight for suffrage has further to go or has gone too far, or if you are interested in an obscure side street on the map to suffrage, the library is the place to start your exploration. At the Elsie Quirk Library, books, databases, research tools, and conversation are all resources available in abundance for gaining new knowledge, and for forming nuanced, complex, individual perspectives.

This week’s events:


Basic Conversational Spanish Class 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
This is a beginner’s class, for developing basic communication skills.

Spanish Reading Goup 3–4:30 p.m.
Reading is at the beginning-intermediate level.


Forty Carrots Partners in Play 10:15 a.m. OR 11:45 a.m.
For children, up to age 5 with a parent or caregiver. A free class for you and your child to enjoy together. Experience new educational activities, join in circle-time fun, meet other families and receive valuable parenting and child development information. Attendance is limited to 12 families per session.

Great Decisions Discussion Group 10:15 a.m.-Noon
The Great Decisions program highlights eight of the most thought-provoking foreign policy challenges facing Americans each year.

Monday Night Movies 5 p.m.
This week’s movie is a classic that explores the friendship of two women facing alarming choices with solidarity.

English for Spanish Speakers – Gratis Clase de Ingles para Hispanohablantes 5:30 – 7 p.m.
For Spanish speakers, who want to improve their skills in speaking and understanding English, with emphasis on correct pronunciation. Students must be able to speak some basic English.


Master Gardener Plant Clinic 10 a.m.–Noon. Get free answers to your Florida gardening and landscaping questions. This is made possible through a partnership with UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County.

Health in Motion Bus 10 a.m – 3:00 p.m
The Florida Department of Health of Sarasota County, Health in Motion staff will be on-site to provide no-cost health screenings and referrals for general health and wellness. Nursing staff will help individuals who lack medical insurance find a medical home for ongoing health care through referrals to the Community Health Centers of Sarasota County. The bus will be located in the west parking lot.

Decline of the Middle Class. 10:15 – 11:15 a.m.
A class involving the changing of America’s economic future and the impact of these changes on the Middle Class.

Tech Time: One-on-One Help with a Librarian. 2 – 4 p.m.
A Reference Librarian will be available for help with e-books, computer basics, or questions about your electronic devices. Reserve a 30-minute session by calling 941-861-1207 or by signing up at the Reference Desk.


Drawdown 6 – 7 p.m.
This class is focused on a solutions-focused approach to climate change, and what you can do locally to make a difference.

LEGO Club 6:00 p.m. – 7:30.
Children ages 5 to 12 will have fun getting together with others and sharing ideas, working together, and making new friends. LEGO bricks will be provided – bring your imagination. LEGO creations will be on display in the library until the next meeting date.


Tech Time: One-on-One Help with a Librarian. 10 a.m. – Noon
A Reference Librarian will be available for help with e-books, computer basics, or questions about your electronic devices. Reserve a 30-minute session by calling 941-861-1207 or by signing up at the Reference Desk.

Great Books Discussion Group 10:15 a.m. – Noon

Family Story Time 10:30 – 11:15 a.m. For ages 0-5.
Interact and participate with your child in a variety of early literacy activities that include music, stories, movement, crafts and school readiness activities.

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